Cats have long been accused of being aloof. Unlike dogs, most cats don't immediately love every human they see. Some people appreciate that you have to earn a cat's affection. Other people (me) find it frustrating. So how do you get a cat or a kitten to like you?
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Handle them. If you have a very young kitten, it's important to get them used to being handled by humans. Luckily, this is generally both easy and adorable. Just get your kitten used to your touch by handling them gently and often, especially in their first seven weeks of life. Handling can entail picking them up, petting them, gently touching their paws, kissing their cute little heads, etc. Show them lots of affection, but don't force any on them if they seem scared or try to squirm away.
Build trust.You should provide your kitten with safe spaces to eat and sleep. Never force them to do anything that causes them undue fear or anxiety. Soon, they will learn that you and the home you provide are safe and trustworthy.
Play. Your kitten is probably going to want to play a lot. Most vets advise spending 10-15 minutes a day playing with your kitten. Many kittens will be up for more playtime than that, so consider that the minimum. Your kitten will also most likely take the lead and tell you when they want to play. Give them lots of toys, and don't force them to play when they don't want to.
Feed. Feed your kitten. A lot. If your kitten is 3-6 months old, vets recommend feeding them 3-4 times a day. In my personal experience, kittens will definitely let you know when they're hungry, and keeping them fed is a great way to build their trust and love.
Getting a grown cat to like you might require a little more finesse. Grown cats are generally less gregarious and less playful than kittens. But don't worry, there are plenty of ways to get a cat to like you.
Play. That's right — just like kittens, cats need playtime too. Make sure you play with your cat for at least 10-15 minutes each day, and keep lots of engaging toys around to keep them stimulated. There's no shortage of fun ways to play with your kitten, so feel free to vary your play and get creative.
Give affection. That is, when your kitty wants it. You'll know when your cat is in the mood to cuddle. She might curl up on your lap, rub against you, or butt her head up against your hand. Awww!
Keep it clean. Cats are fastidious, and they like a clean home. This includes their litter box, arguably the most important area to keep clean. Make sure you scoop your cat's litter box at least once a day, and change the litter every two weeks (or more often if you have multiple cats).
Don't force it. Any cat person will tell you that cats need to do things on their own time. Never force a cat to play with you or give you affection, no matter how much you may want them to.
Learn to read them. Part of not forcing anything on them is learning to read them. If you observe her carefully, your cat will most likely tell you when she's hungry, when she wants to play, and when she wants to be left alone. Just like any friendship, learning to read your cat's behavior is an important part of bonding.
Are you interested in learning more about what you're reading? Then scroll through this article about what it means when your pet doesn't remember you. Also, like us on Facebook and join our newsletter to learn more about your pet's behavior.